ACROSS THE ROOM PT. 3

Ted stopped in front of his sister and smiled broadly at her.

He knew when Jake started working in his department that he would be the perfect match for Rachel.  They both wore their religion like badges of honor; and while he did not see any need for such a belief, he loved his sister and wanted her to be happy.

He stepped to one side of her and half turned so he could make the introductions.

“Rach, this is a friend of mine, Jake North.  Jake, this is  Rachel.”

Rachel reached out to accept Jake’s offered hand and found shockwaves zinging up her arm.  Startled green eyes widened slightly as she fought against the pull of the man.

When she went to withdraw her hand, she found his tightening enough so that her fingers were trapped within his warm grip.

“Hi,” she winced inwardly at the breathy quality that had taken over her voice, feeling the warmth of a few seconds ago return to her face.

“Nice to meet you.” Jake’s gravelly voice washed over her, smothering her in its depths.

At the sound of his name being called from the other side of the room, Ted turned away.   “Excuse me.”  He had only taken a step when he looked back at Rachel.  “Jake is new to the area and is looking for a church.”

Rachel watched her brother walk away and then turned her attention back to the man standing in front of her.

“What kind of church?”

One broad shoulder lifted.  “One that teaches the Bible.”

Rachel nodded, digesting this in silence.  Then, tipping her head to one side, she asked, “How do you know Ted?”

Jake took a moment to study her, realizing that the head tilt was not meant to be provocative.  Unless he missed his guess, this woman did not have an ounce of guile in her.

“Work.  You?”

Rachel felt the beginnings of a smile twitch the corners of her lips at the brief answers.  Sure was talkative, wasn’t he?

She looked up into those blue eyes and said, “He’s my brother.”

She saw the surprise before he covered it, and wondered at it.  When he glanced at the cup of now cold coffee in her hand, she realized that he was lumping her together with all of her brother’s friends.

She lifted the cup slightly toward him and said, “Coffee and creamer.  Nothing else.”

She pointedly glanced at the matching mug in his hand and raised one brow.

Jake’s mouth lifted at one corner.  Touché, he conceded silently.  “Coffee, two sugars.”  He grinned down at her.  “Nothing else.”  He swirled the remaining liquid in the bottom of the cup, watching it slosh around, then raised his eyes back to hers.  “And now cold.”  One dark brow raised slightly.  “Care to go get another?”

Rachel shook her head and went to step around him.

“No, thank you.  I was just leaving.”

The suddenness of his fingers gripping her arm pulled Rachel up short.  She looked down, then up at him pointedly.  His dark brows were raised to his hairline in question.

“A church?”

“Oh.”  Rachel had forgotten the reason for Ted’s introduction.

She told him the name of her church and where it was located; trying to digest the feelings his grip had created.

It was as if God’s reassurance came through the touch at her elbow.  Rachel felt peace and joy fill her, and then settle deep inside.

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011

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